The Sheltering Sky

The Sheltering Sky

With A Preface by the Author

eBook - 2005
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A beautiful, yet disturbing, tale of two people traveling into the Sahara. Although the couple apear to be smart, independent travelers, they are not equipped to travel into the desert. Thus, each time hardship strikes, pieces of their comfortable lives and the identities they had constructed seem to peel away. The shifting sands and unforgiving sun are metaphors for the shocking and vulgar circumstances that befall them.
Publisher: New York : HarperPerennial, 2005.
Edition: 1st Harper Perennial modern classics ed.
ISBN: 9780062119339
Characteristics: 1 online resource (xii, 313, 16 p.)

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gord_ma Feb 12, 2019

This book inspired Track 10 from The Police's [Synchronicity].
      My sisters and I
      Have this wish before we die.
      And it may sound strange
      As if our minds are deranged.
      Please don’t ask us why
      Beneath the sheltering sky
      We have this strange obsession
      You have the means in your possession.
      Tea in the Sahara with you.
      Tea in the Sahara with you.
      The young man agreed
      He would satisfy their need.
      So they danced for his pleasure
      With a joy you could not measure.
      They would wait for him here
      The same place every year.
      Beneath the sheltering sky
      Across the desert he would fly.
      Tea in the Sahara with you.
      Tea in the Sahara with you.
      Tea in the Sahara with you.
            Tea in the Sahara with you…
                  —from “Tea in the Sahara” by Sting

Sep 16, 2016

The commenter dixielib summed up my feeling exactly. I would add that I think Bowles was going for a Laurence Durrell kind of feel. He failed. One was not swept away with the story, one was astonished at the total incapability of 3 young, wealthy, educated Americans to cope with a mess of their own making. The female character is the most interesting, but damned if I've ever met anyone so helpless and cowardly, even given given it was written in 1949. Pages of rambling that the author evidently saw as marks of genius.

Jun 30, 2014

Three Americans tour the small villages of Morocco a few years after the end of WWll. An interesting tale of betrayal and redemption, the characters are well defined and believable. Also offers a glimpse into Arab culture and the perils of life in the desert. After reading, I gained a better appreciation of my own country, and the bountiful rivers, lakes, and forests...

Dec 14, 2012

An unsatisfying book, recounting an implausible story of sheer fantasy with no/little pretensions of reality. I chose the book expecting to glean cultural insight of places (Algeria in this case) that I’ll never visit, based on book-cover and online write-ups with remarks such as “devastatingly imaginative observer of the West’s encounter with the East” and “Paul Bowles examines the ways in which Americans’ incomprehension of alien cultures leads to the ultimate destruction of those cultures.” The book attained none of this, it dwelled for pages on sheer fantasy and offered no cultural insights beyond recounting the heat and grit of African life, with both of which I’m already familiar.

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